Home for the Holidays: Family History and Prostate Cancer Risk

For many of us, the holidays are a time to travel home and spend with family and friends. During these joyous occasions, it’s important to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. As you sit down with relatives and share memories, this is also an opportunity to ask questions and have meaningful conversations about your health. Though family health history is a topic that doesn’t always come up, there is no better time to ask questions and learn about your genealogy than when you are gathered together. Knowing your family history can help you understand your risk of developing a wide range of health problems, such as heart disease and certain types of cancer, including cancer of the prostate.

Family Health History and Prostate Cancer

Many studies have demonstrated a genetic contribution to prostate cancer risk. Members of families with the following characteristics may especially want to consider genetic consultation:

  • Having multiple first-degree relatives with a prostate cancer diagnosis
  • Early-onset prostate cancer (age ≤55 years)
  • Those with a family history of prostate cancer along with other types of cancers (e.g., breast, ovarian, pancreatic). [1]

Know Your Family Health History

Research tells us that one’s genetic predisposition for developing cancer reaches beyond cancer of the prostate. In fact, inherited genetic mutations are believed to contribute to 5 to 10 percent of all cancers. [2] This is why it’s important to take the time to discuss family health history when your loved ones are together. Taking a proactive approach can lead to early detection of disease, which can saves lives. We encourage you to ask questions this holiday season – Learn about your family medical history and do your part to educate your relatives about instances of cancer and other disease in your lineage.

4Kscore Test: Simple Prostate Cancer Blood Test

If you or a loved have a family health history of prostate cancer, or other types of cancer, it is important to monitor your health. The 4Kscore checks four prostate-specific biomarkers and clinical information to predict a man’s risk of aggressive prostate cancer. This simple blood test is performed after an abnormal PSA, and can help you and your loved ones specifically determine the risk of aggressive prostate cancer prior to making a prostate biopsy decision. Do your part this holiday season to have the discussion and encourage those you hold dear to take an active role in monitoring their health.

Would you like to receive more insight on the health issues that impact you and your family? Subscribe to our blog.

  • National Cancer Institute. Genetics of Prostate Cancer (PDQ®)–Health Professional Version. Available https://www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/hp/prostate-genetics-pdq. (Accessed December 8, 2016).
  • National Cancer Institute. Genetic Testing for Hereditary Cancer Syndromes. Available https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/genetics/genetic-testing-fact-sheet. (Accessed December 8, 2016).